TIMEWORKS (P)REVIEW by Eerk Hofmeester
At last. Hooray! A real Desktop Publisher for our Atari ST. And
that's not all, oh no, it can work perfectly together with the
Atari SLM 804 Laser printer as well.
That is somewhat the way the DTP package (Desktop Publishing, for
those who have not payed attention when they were told the first
time, is making your own high quality print work, including text,
graphics, layout and print out with a micro computer, in our case
the Atari ST series) 'Timeworks' was introduced. Belonging to the
happy few, I could lay my hands on one of the first official
versions brought out in the Netherlands. Owning an SLM 804 as
well my expectations were quit high. For this could be the first
software product to finally make some use of the printer power I
had bought with my laser printer.
The first results looked promising, to say the least (after
needing three hours to install the program properly, by the time
you read this, the new version of 'Timeworks' will be released,
where the installation process is enhanced and as far as I have
seen now, all files are properly on the necessary diskettes).
Especially in speed, user friendliness and quality of print out
(this last point being, I think, one of the most important
judging points for DTP software) 'Timeworks' showed very good
Working more with it (where was the time that I worked on my own
products?) I discovered more and more power in 'Timeworks'. To
name a few:
* You can import 1st Word files ('Timeworks' is brought out by
GST, makers of 1st Word (Plus)) with all style functions like
bold, super- subscript, etc, intact.
* With most text editors you can create pure ASCII files, which
can also be imported.
* Picture files made with Degas, snapshot, Neochrome and standard
GEM formatted pictures can be imported and reduced or enlarged in
any size on the page. It's even possible only to use a part of
the picture and stretch this any way you like.
* Putting a text or picture block on top of your text, will make
the text follow the borders of this picture automatically (when
* 'Timeworks' uses standard GEM fonts both for the screen and the
printer, if you want you can other fonts, like those for example
of the fleetstreet editor. Because 'Timeworks' uses a separate
screen font and printer font, you are able to see the actual
print layout on the screen, while working on your file. Although
it has to be mentioned that this so called WYSIWYG principle
(What You See Is What You Get; another word you could have known
when looking at any ST magazine of the past two years) is in the
case of 'Timeworks' not always used very consistent. Especially
with smaller text sizes, even the actual page view, shows the
text relatively far to small. Words that seem to fit, appear
wrong or just to long when printed out.
I think, 'Timeworks' has the possibilities to set a standard in
Atari ST Desktop Publishing. It has the speed: I did not mention
that before, but the editor is, compared to the huge amount of
work it has to go through, very fast), the user friendliness is
very satisfactory: apart from the installation procedure which
took me to long (this also because of bad original copies) I got
the basics of the program in my fingers within a couple of hours
(it is to say that I have some experience with other DTP
programs) and, reading the manual which is always very wise, the
special functions are explained very clear and in a lesson-like
way so you can practice the different functions the moment you
read about them.
But, and there will always be that 'but' in my reviews I think, I
said: '..has the possibilities..'. In the version I worked with,
which included a first update which I (thank you Wilfred)
received from Atari Benelux, were a number of little and
unfortunately also big bugs. Apart from the difficulties with bad
copied originals (I was not the only one having read errors with
the first 'Timeworks' version), the program bombed away on me
performing quit important tasks like printing and loading files.
There were some other problems and features I missed in this 1.01
version, like merging 'Timeworks' files, cutting imported text in
pieces, using more than one style sheet and a better print out
quality on dot matrix printers (why don't they use the Signum way
of printing, especially with for example the NEC P6?). But I
think GST wanted 'Timeworks' to be the first SLM supporting
program on the market and released it in a rather bug free state.
Perhaps it's the market strategy of GST to prepare the market for
their products with pre and not quit ready versions before coming
up with the real thing(think of the many versions of 1st Word and
1st Word Plus before the 'final' 2.02 was released).
I hope this real thing will contain some of the functions we at
the moment could use and that the quality of what comes next is
of the same standard as they provided us with, with 'Timeworks'
1.01. If this is the case, I think Atari has made a very good
choice by providing every new Mega ST owner with a free copy of
the program (at least, this is the case in the Netherlands and
Every ST owner, interested in Desktop Publishing should take a
look at 'Timeworks' and let especially the laser print out speak
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.